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  • Writer's pictureNoah Yard

Trying to Avoid Chappell Roan's Rise to the Top? Good Luck, Babe!

 



 

At this point, who hasn’t done an article on the meteoric rise of newly crowned pop icon Chappell Roan? Seriously I’m asking!

 

She’s had interviews with Time Magazine, was featured in Rolling Stone, and just did an incredible performance and interview with Jimmy Fallon.

 

Every outlet is trying to cover “Who is she, where did she come from, what is her music about? So I won’t dig up her past too much. I won’t bring up that Chappell is a stage name, or that she was signed to a record label at just 17. (Only to be dropped, and then picked up again in 2022.)

 

I just want to talk about the rise of this Midwest Princess and celebrate her for the queer art, specifically lesbian representation, she is bringing to the world.

 

Inspired by the world of drag a lot of looks are campy, or as she calls them “Tacky or ugly”, boasting violently red hair and a pale face, with princes and cowboy imagery. She dressed as iconic drag queen Divine for her recent show at Kentuckian Pride, where she captioned an Instagram post “Filth is my politics! Filth is my Life!”


She talks openly about how, after a chance encounter with a drag queen performing at another show, told her she was already a drag queen. Since then, Chappell has gone all out with her looks and has cemented her pop stardom, with celebs like Elton John, Gaga, and Sabrina Carpenter praising her work. She opened for Olivia Rodrigo’s “GUTS” tour also.

 

Since her album launch her fame has skyrocketed in a way I haven’t seen in years, and I haven’t been as deeply fascinated by such a unique artist in a long time. I’m not the only one, either. 9 months after the release of The Rise and Fall of the Midwest Princess, she’s being manically moved to bigger stages at festivals, as the small stages originally set for her could not fit the swarms and stadium-sized crowds who want to dance to “Hot to Go.”

 

Fame is not everything it’s cracked up to be it seems, as she’s gotten a bit of backlash after showing such huge support for Palestine (denying a visit to the white house!) And drag queens in a time when they are being scapegoated and demonised. She got emotional during one stage performance saying  'I think that my career's just kind of gone by really fast and it's really hard to keep up.”

 

She’s taking it on the chin like a champ however, making Jimmy Fallon quiver in his boots after he admitted to googling her before her interview, “Did you not know who I was before,” she smiles, before revealing her tag line “I’m your favourite artists favourite artist,” is a nod to drag powerhouse and legend Sasha Colby.

 

But what is her music like? Why has she captivated so many people with her synth sound and dramatic vocal performances?




 

Her debut album “Rise and Fall of the Midwest Princess” is full of Gay Girl Anthems. Chappell has been open about her need to make love songs that “are about a woman, and not shy away from that.” Indeed as a woman who identifies within the LGBT community this influence is all over the album. Red Wine Supernova is “a lesbian bar in a song” as she told Elton John on his podcast. Casual is all about fantasising about being with a woman, and Hot to Go is all about feeling the inner cheerleader that she never got to be as a kid. And that’s a huge mood throughout the album, as well,  connecting through an inner self who, in the past, never got to be the woman she wanted to be.

 

Pink Pony Club, one of the standouts on the album is all about feeling called to a place. On her life living in Missouri Chappell commented to Rolling Stone: “I wish it was better. I wish I had better things to say. But mentally, I had a really tough time.” Pink Pony Club is about stepping into gay bars, having fun on stage and dancing, despite possible disapproval. Its liberation. Finding yourself as a queer person.

 

She said in an in-depth dive into her album with Pop Buzz that she wants to create joy in spaces where there isn’t any and with this album she has surely achieved this a hundred times over.

 



I wanna talk about Good Luck, Babe, can we please talk about it I’ve been dying to talk about it. Released in April, you can tell Chappell has settled into her sound and vision at this point. This is a breakup song, (about two women, it bears repeating because it is integral to the song.) This song fills me with joy with it’s euphoric sound, and sadness with its lyrics where Chappell sings about a lover who is “denying fate.” The song is focused on the necessity to stay straight in a world where that’s no longer the only option. Her partner in the song is desperately trying to escape gay thoughts, and Chappell knows that’s just not going to work. “You know I hate to say I told you so,” she belts, a triumphant f you. The song is a triumph of deciding to dismantle compulsory heterosexuality.

 

If you haven’t given the album and her latest single a listen, please do yourself a favour and do so, because you’ll want to get in on the ground floor when this girl goes all the way to the top.

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